Music Industry Moves: Em Beihold Signs With Sony Publishing; ‘Billie Eilish’ Rapper Armani White Inks With Def Jam

Sony Music Publishing has signed rising singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Em Beihold to a worldwide publishing agreement. Her gold-certified single “Numb Little Bug” has been on the Billboard Hot 100 for 24 weeks, and she released her debut EP “Egg in the Backseat: last week.   

”I’m so happy to be a part of the Sony Music Publishing family,” said Beihold. “So many of my favorite artists who inspired me to start writing in the first place like Regina Spektor and Sara Bareilles are with them so it was a natural decision. Songwriting is the core of my artistry and I’m so grateful to call Sony Music Publishing home.”

+ Armani White, the West Philadelphia rapper whose single “Billie Eilish” is one of the summer’s viral hits, has signed with Def Jam Recordings, chairman/CEO Tunji Balogun announced.
“Armani is a dynamic artist who’s been bubbling underground for a while now and has caught lightning in a bottle with ‘Billie Eilish’” said Balogun. “As infectious and urgent as ‘Billie’ is, Armani’s upcoming EP displays an energetic, three-dimensional artist with a unique perspective and an exciting approach to the game. We’re all excited to help him develop, connect with a wider audience, and become the star he’s shown he can be.”
“Billie Eilish helped me finish my 2022 wish list in a month,” said Armani White. “The sky opened up and things I couldn’t have imagined fell in front of me.”

+ Sherrese Clarke Soares’ HarbourView Equity Partners has acquired the publishing catalog of veteran country act Lady A. According to the announcement, the trio — formerly called Lady Antebellum — has moved more than 18 million album units, sold more than 34 million tracks and racked up nearly 5 billion digital streams, along with five Grammy Awards and being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Fox Rothschild LLP served as legal counsel to HarbourView in the transaction. Lady A is represented by Greenberg Traurig LLP’s Jess L. Rosen.

+ The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has appointed Cody Cowan to the newly created position of chief operating officer.  He will oversee the day-to-day operations of NIVA’s various initiatives working closely with NIVA’s executive director, board members, department heads, staff, and committee chairs to continue NIVA’s role as the independent live industry and community champions. Cowan comes to NIVA from Austin’s Red River Cultural District, where he held the position of executive director, and previously worked at two of the city’s major clubs, Emos and the Mohawk.

“As NIVA continues its evolution from successfully ensuring the independent music, comedy, promoter and festival industry will survive, we’re now focused on how we thrive,” said Rev. Moose, Executive Director and Co-Founder of NIVA. We’re incredibly fortunate that Cody, a seasoned music industry veteran with a history of success working in the civic, hospitality, service, and live events industries, is joining NIVA in this newly created leadership position of COO. He’s a leader and vocal advocate for preserving the cultural identity of his hometown of Austin and we know he will bring this passion, commitment and energy to NIVA.”

+ Sony Music Entertainment has promoted Jacob Fowler to executive vice president and chief product officer. Based in New York, he reports directly to COO Kevin Kelleher. In this role, Fowler will lead global product strategy, working closely with Sony Music’s Global Digital Business group and the Orchard in overseeing a newly created worldwide group that combines the product technology and engineering teams of the two divisions.

The new global group will continue to build on a range of industry-leading applications Sony Music currently provides to its workforce and creative partners, including SME’s Real Time Insights tool for artists, its Apollo data analytics platform for employees, and The Orchard’s Workstation + Suite. Fowler will continue to oversee technology for The Orchard, as well as AWAL and neighboring rights division KNR.

Since 2020, Fowler has served as CTO of the Orchard, which he first joined as a product manager within the technology group in 2016.

+ Propeller, a digital platform that combines social activism, charitable efforts and marketing campaigns and has worked with Justin Bieber, Lizzo and other, is opening an investment fund with crowdfunding platform Wefunder. It is offering the opportunity to support its continued growth with a minimum investment of $250 via fellow public-benefit corporation Wefunder, wherein “everyone from traditional investors to someone making their first impact investment can feel good about where they are aligning their funds.”

Since May 1 the org has raised $625,000 for nonprofits and generated over 1 million actions. Lizzo’s third annual Juneteenth Giveback raised nearly $125,000 from more than 38,000 participants, while Justin Bieber’s Justice campaign generated more than $165,000 for Generosity Foundation and nearly 224,000 actions through Propeller. The organization also works or has worked with Demi Lovato, the National, Bon Iver, Jack Johnson and more as well as festivals and venues include Bonnaroo, Outside Lands and Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and organizations including NRDC, HRC, Planned Parenthood, the Trevor Project and Intrepid Travel.

+ Creative Intell, an artificial intelligence-powered dealmaking platform for the music industry, announced the close of a $3 million seed funding round today. The music-tech startup is backed by music industry investors including Austin Rosen (Electric Feel Ventures, and co-management for Post Malone), Mac and Robert Reynolds (management, the Killers, Imagine Dragons), Rimas Entertainment (label and management, Bad Bunny), Lucas Keller (Milk & Honey Music + Sports), Barry Weiss (Records founder), Dina LaPolt (founder, LaPolt Law), Robert Celestin (founder, Law Offices of Robert Celestin), Kevin Liles (co-founder and CEO of 300 Entertainment), and Lyor Cohen (YouTube head of music).

According to the announcement, Creative Intell is developing a suite of patent-pending, AI-powered legal and educational tools that empower musicians and their teams to take control of their careers and make smarter deals.

+ SoundExchange has named Luis Bonilla chief technology officer, effective August 1, 2022. In his new capacity, Bonilla will be responsible for the technology systems and infrastructure that underpin SoundExchange’s proprietary solutions and will oversee the scaling of tools to better enable the business of music. He will report to president/CEO Michael Huppe and is based out of Washington, D.C.

Bonilla has served as Senior Vice President of Operations at SoundExchange since 2020 and first joined the organization as Senior Director of Distribution Services in 2011.

+ Kobalt has promoted Jamie Kinelski to senior vice president & head of West Coast creative. Since joining Kobalt as creative director in 2014 after several years as ASCAP, she has developed a roster that includes Kali Uchis, Father John Misty, Moses Sumney, Rogét Chahayed, Cuco and others, and helped ink partnerships between Kobalt and Heavy Duty Publishing and 88Rising.

“Jamie is a rare creative who is ahead of the curve in identifying talent and also has the innate ability to work closely with the world’s greatest songwriters, earn their respect and help them fulfill their potential,” said Kobalt Chief Creative Officer Sas Metcalfe. “Her promotion is a testament to her success and contributions to the careers of the songwriters on Kobalt’s roster. I am excited to see what she achieves in this expanded leadership role.”

+ Miles Gersh has been promoted to vice president of A&R for Warner Records. Based at the label’s Los Angeles headquarters, Gersh reports to Co-Chairman and CEO, Aaron Bay-Schuck. Since joining Warner Records in 2019 from 12Tone Music, Gersh has worked closely with such artists as Zach Bryan and CJ.

“Miles has only been in the business for four years, and he’s quickly become one of its newest A&R stars,” said Bay-Schuck. “He’s already delivered big for our Warner Records family, and I know there’s plenty more to come in the years ahead. I’m excited to announce this well-deserved promotion.”

+MNRK Music Group has named Michael Frick as its new VP of creative services for its music department. He is based in Los Angeles and reports to Maria Alonte,  SVP of the company’s music department. Founder of Mophonis, Frick has designed integrated music platforms for such brand campaigns as Apple, Visit California, Discover Los Angeles, Quickbooks, Cadillac and Verizon, and is a member of the Guild of Music Supervisors and the Television Academy.

According to the announcement, in this newly created role, Frick will be the music creative in brand partnerships. He will handle day-to-day synch activity for artists and writers in MNRK’s global group in the advertising/brand marketing space. In addition, he will be working alongside the music supervision team, providing creative services to brands as a music strategist/ consultant.

Alonte says, “Michael continues to be one of the most respected talents in music curation and strategy in the brand space. With Michael on board, our music department is even better equipped to be the music solution for any visual media need. We are thrilled he has joined our team!”

+ Indie publishing powerhouse Prescription Songs has promoted Christian Conant to A&R manager. Contant is based in the company’s Nashville office and works closely with such artists as Maddie Zahm, Fly by Midnight, Joy Oladokun, Matt Koziol, Lauren LaRue (Arizona Zervas, Sam Hunt, Jimmie Allen), Nick Bailey (Demi Lovato, MGK, Maroon 5), Kyle Stemberger (Jorja Smith, Bad Bunny, Tate McRae) and others.

“Christian has been working hard since the day he joined our team as an A&R coordinator,” says Katie Fagan, Head of A&R Nashville. “He has a great ear for great songs and his diverse taste in music has been a perfect addition to our A&R team. The writers love him and so does the Nashville community.”

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